Aquarium Checklist for Beginners: What Will You Need?

Aquarium checklist

Setting up your first aquarium can be a daunting task. There are so many things to consider – what fish should you get, what kind of tank do you need, and how much water will you need? It can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this aquarium checklist for beginners!

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to get started with your own aquarium.

1. Aquarium size

When deciding on aquarium size, it is important to consider a number of factors. First, you will need to determine how much space you have available. 

Aquariums come in a wide range of sizes, from small desktop tanks to large floor-standing models. Second, you will need to consider the type of fish you plan to keep. Some fish require more space than others, and some fish are simply too large for smaller aquariums. Finally, you will need to think about the maintenance required for your aquarium. Larger aquariums require more time and effort to clean and filter, so be sure to factor that into your decision. 

By considering all of these factors, you can be sure to choose the right size aquarium for your needs.

2. Tank stand

The first step is to choose the right location for your tank. It should be in a room that gets plenty of natural light and is far away from any drafts. 

Once you’ve found the perfect spot, it’s time to set up your aquarium stand. It’s important to have a tank stand that is both functional and stylish. Make sure that it’s level and sturdy before placing your tank on top. 

A good tank stand should be made of sturdy material that can support the weight of the aquarium. It should also have a shelf or platform for holding filters, pumps, and other equipment. 

In addition, the stand should be designed to protect your floors from water damage. However, taking the time to find the right stand will pay off in the long run by making your aquarium easier to maintain and more enjoyable to look at.

Once your stand is in place, you can start adding gravel, plants, and fish food to your aquarium. Finally, add a water conditioner to help keep your fish healthy and happy. With a little bit of effort, you’ll have a beautiful aquarium that’s the perfect addition to any home.

3. Filter

Any aquarium owner knows that having a good filter is essential for keeping the water clean and healthy. 

Not only does it remove debris and toxins, but it also helps to oxygenate the water and keep the pH level balanced. 

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a filter for your aquarium. First, consider the size of the aquarium and the type of fish you have. 

A small aquarium with goldfish will require a very different filter than a large aquarium with tropical fish. Second, choose a filter that is easy to maintain and clean. Nobody wants to spend hours every week struggling to clean their aquarium filter! 

Finally, be sure to read reviews before making a purchase. With so many options on the market, it can be hard to know which filters are worth the money. By taking the time to do some research, you can be sure that you’re choosing the best filter for your aquarium.

4. Heater

In order to keep aquarium fish happy and healthy, it is important to maintain proper temperatures in the aquarium. 

However, for many aquarium owners, one of the most effective and reliable methods of controlling aquarium temperatures is by using an aquarium heater. 

These heaters are specifically designed to keep water temperatures within a certain range, making them ideal for small or large aquariums alike. 

In addition to keeping aquarium temperatures stable, aquarium heaters also help ensure that water conditions remain constant, which can be especially important when raising sensitive species of fish. 

With proper installation and regular monitoring, an aquarium heater can help ensure that your fish will thrive in just the right environment. 

So if you’re ready to upgrade your tank with a reliable and effective heater, start shopping today!

5. Lights

Aquarium lights are an essential piece of equipment on the aquarium checklist. Typical aquariums are too dark for most aquarium plants and animals to thrive, so a good lighting system is necessary for them to properly grow and flourish. 

There are a variety of different aquarium light types available, including LED lights, fluorescent bulbs, metal halide lights, and more. 

When choosing aquarium lights, it is important to take into account things like tank size and water type in order to select the right kind of light that will provide optimal conditions for your aquarium. 

Additionally, it is important to regularly maintain your aquarium lights as well to ensure optimal performance and prevent damage or overheating. 

With the right aquarium checklist in place and a little bit of maintenance work, aquarium lights can help you create a beautiful oasis right at home!

6. Gravel or sand

If you’re setting up a new aquarium, you may be wondering whether to use gravel or sand as your substrate. 

There are pros and cons to both options, so it’s important to do your research and make a decision based on your specific aquarium setup.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Gravel is generally cheaper than sand and easier to find. It also comes in a variety of colors and can be used to create different looks in your aquarium. However, gravel is heavier than sand and can be more difficult to clean. It can also trap debris and waste, which can lead to water quality issues.

Sand is lighter than gravel and will not compact over time. This makes it an excellent choice for aquariums with live plants, as the roots will have plenty of room to grow. Sand is also easy to clean and maintain. However, it can be more expensive than gravel and can be blown around easily by filter currents or powerheads. 

 Overall, there is no “right” answer when it comes to choosing gravel or sand for your aquarium. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and what will work best for your particular setup. 

Be sure to consult an aquarium professional if you have any questions or concerns about which substrate is right for you.

7. Aquarium plants

When setting up an aquarium, it’s important to choose the right plants. Aquarium plants not only provide oxygen for your fish, but they also help to remove harmful toxins from the water. They can also provide hiding places for shy fish and create a more natural-looking environment. With so many different species of aquarium plants available, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Here is a checklist of some of the most popular aquarium plants, along with their benefits and drawbacks:

– Java Fern: This hardy plant is ideal for beginners. It doesn’t need much attention and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. However, it can be a bit slow-growing.

– Anubias: Another low-maintenance plant, Anubias is perfect for tanks with high levels of nitrate and phosphate. It’s also relatively slow-growing.

– Cryptocoryne: Cryptocoryne is a great choice for aquariums with high levels of chlorine or heavy metals in the water. However, it’s very sensitive to changes in water quality and temperature, so it’s not recommended for beginners.

– Amazon Sword: The Amazon Sword is a fast-growing plant that provides plenty of hiding places for fish. However, it requires a lot of light and nutrients to thrive.

– Java Moss: Java Moss is a versatile plant that can be used as a ground cover or attached to rocks or driftwood. It’s relatively easy to care for, but it can be a bit slow-growing.

8. Aquarium fish food

When feeding aquarium fish, it is important to choose the right type of food for your aquarium inhabitants. There is a range of aquarium fish foods available, from pellets and flakes to frozen and live foods. 

You should start by carefully reading through an aquarium checklist to determine which types of fish you have and what their specific dietary needs may be. 

For instance, herbivorous fish like most cichlids might require more plant-based foods while predatory species might need meatier fare, such as bloodworms or brine shrimp. 

Once you have selected a suitable fish food, it is important to follow carefully any feeding instructions included on the packaging. 

This will help ensure that your aquarium fish get all the nutrients they need in order to thrive in their aquatic environment. With the right combination of careful planning and high-quality aquarium food, you can help keep your aquarium fish happy and healthy for years to come.


With this Aquarium Checklist for Beginners, setting up your aquarium will be a breeze! Be sure to have all the essential equipment on hand before getting started. 

With a little bit of planning and preparation, you’ll be well on your way to creating a beautiful and thriving aquarium that will be the envy of all your friends!

Did we miss anything on our Aquarium Checklist for Beginners? Let us know and feel free to check out our other blog post topics!

Happy aquarium keeping!​ ​

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